Didactic? Yes. And maybe Thomas’ and Kyle’s transformations are a bit too good to be true. But this is valuable nonetheless.

READ REVIEW

NOBODY!

A STORY ABOUT OVERCOMING BULLYING IN SCHOOLS

The team that created the Weird series presents another title about bullying, again emphasizing the three roles in bullying transactions—target, initiator, bystanders—and bringing home to readers what they can do to end bullying.

Whether it’s demeaning the activities Thomas enjoys, putting down his soccer plays, using insulting words, or being physically abusive, Kyle makes Thomas feel like a nobody. But Thomas’ friends and some trusted adults help him change his thinking: “Maybe Kyle is right. Maybe nobody is like me. And maybe that’s a GOOD thing!” Thomas decides “it’s time for a new story,” and though his courage isn’t what he might like, he takes the first step in standing up to Kyle, and his friends back him up. Heaphy does an excellent job portraying emotions through facial expressions and posture—Thomas is visibly cowed, and Kyle consistently leans forward threateningly. Kyle and Thomas are in full color, while the rest of the characters are done in black and white with small patches of color. The backmatter is especially valuable, breaking down the actions that Thomas, his friends, and Kyle took to help end the bullying, giving ideas about combating bullying and thinking differently about oneself, and providing parents with constructive discussion questions.

Didactic? Yes. And maybe Thomas’ and Kyle’s transformations are a bit too good to be true. But this is valuable nonetheless. (Picture book/bibliotherapy. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-57542-495-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Free Spirit

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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